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Can marriage stop deportation in Louisiana?

By February 13, 2023February 5th, 2024No Comments

If you or someone you love is facing deportation, you may be feeling understandingly overwhelmed and afraid. 

Immigration law changes very often in the U.S. and it can be stressful to think of what comes next or what can be done.

From asylum laws to removal proceedings, experienced attorneys, like at Jones Laws Partners, work to stay up to date by the day for our clients. So if you’re facing removal from the country, you might wonder if marriage to a U.S. citizen could help defend yourself against deportation. 

Marriage to a U.S. citizen alone cannot stop deportation in Louisiana

First, you should know that immigration law doesn’t allow anyone to get married just to get lawful immigration status. 

Marriages that take place primarily for the purpose of getting legal status are known as “sham marriages.” The penalties are severe and include jail time.

But that doesn’t mean marriage is out of the question if you’re already in a committed relationship with a U.S. citizen. As long as your main reason for getting married is to build a life together, you will have an easier time proving bona fide marriage.

That being said, if you are already facing deportation proceedings, getting married to a U.S. citizen won’t automatically prevent you from being deported. There are a number of things that will have to happen depending on how you entered the country, as well.

If you entered the U.S. legally…

  • and married a U.S. citizen before getting detained:
    1. You can request a cancellation of removal by showing you’re eligible for an adjustment of status. In other words, you can submit a visa application because you are related to a U.S. citizen through marriage
    2. Getting a bond will help you work on your case freely, but it can be difficult to pay or you may be ineligible
    3. Once you are approved to submit your application, you can follow the regular process required for a visa through marriage. Part of that process includes proving a bona fide marriage.

If all of the above goes well, it is technically possible for you to file for an adjustment of status on the basis of your marriage, and for that adjustment of status to prevent you from being deported.

  • and want to marry a U.S. citizen while detained:

It’s essentially the same process as above, but you will be adjusting your status while in immigration court and the immigration judge will ultimately determine whether you can adjust your status based on your marriage. Again the immigration judge will scrutinize your case to determine if it is indeed a “bona fide” marriage.

It would help your case tremendously if you have been in a committed relationship for several years and if you have kids together.

If you only have one unlawful entry on your record…

  • and married a U.S. citizen before getting detained:

You have two options in this situation: You can try to prove your spouse will face hardship if you are deported, or you may have to leave the U.S. and reapply for a visa. 

Some examples of hardship you may have to prove:

    • The U.S. spouse has a medical condition and depends on you for care.
    • The U.S. spouse is financially dependent on you and it will not be possible to provide adequate support from abroad.
    • The U.S. spouse has financial debts in the United States and cannot pay them without support from you.
    • The U.S. spouse has a sick family member and will be unable to care for that person without support from you.
    • The U.S. spouse is the caregiver for the children and cannot afford childcare in your absence.
    • The U.S. spouse is experiencing clinical depression as a result of this immigration situation.
  • and want to marry a U.S. citizen while detained:

Once again, the situation becomes a lot more difficult if you are detained. You will have to try much harder to show you’re in a bona fide marriage and that your U.S. spouse will face significant hardship if you are deported. 

So what counts as a bona fide marriage in Louisiana?

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants you to prove your marriage is “bona fide.” 

In other words, they want to know that your marriage is a legitimate partnership with evidence of commitment to each other.

If you are facing deportation and in removal proceedings, the immigration judge might assume you and your partner got married for immigration purposes, so there will be a heavier burden on you to prove the marriage is legitimate. 

If not in removal proceedings and seeking to adjust your status through your lawful marriage to a U.S. citizen with USCIS, the USCIS officer will screen your case to determine if you are in a “bona fide” marriage.

You must provide evidence, which could include the following:

  • Joint bank account statements with both spouses’ names
  • Mortgage or loan documents showing joint responsibility
  • Joint credit card statements
  • Life insurance policies listing each other as the primary beneficiary
  • Joint auto and/or health insurance policies showing coverage for both spouses
  • Utility or other bills showing both spouses’ names
  • Letters from family members and friends testifying to your relationship
  • Travel itineraries for vacations you took together
  • Wedding photos and other photos together 

A married couple really needs to be together for the long haul, as the entire process can generally last more than one year and the evidence required is extensive and personal.

There are other ways to stop deportation, and our experienced attorneys at Jones Law Partners can help you decide your best course of action.

Contact our dedicated attorneys at Jones Law Partners

Everyone deserves the chance to live freely and openly in the United States of America. If you or someone you know needs to fight removal proceedings, contacting Jones Law Partners is a great way to get started on the right path. With our services, you can trust that you’re getting an experienced lawyer who will work hard to fight for you and your case.

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